Unfortunately, we know that tennis has a steroid problem. Previously, we wrote about tennis players who were convicted of using anabolic steroids or other drugs to increase athletic performance. Sadly, many athletes do not want to play according to the rules established by international and national anti-doping organizations. They want to win at whatever cost. This adds negative connotations to sports.
Rafael (Rafa) Nadal is one of the greatest tennis players of our time. Perhaps you remember his outstanding tennis matches and the special style of playing. However, some people have suspicions that this great player was deceiving all of us, using forbidden medicines to increase performance.
Is it true? Did Rafael Nadal use steroids or not? Can we consider him a steroid cheater?
Rafael Nadal’s Biography—Key Facts
Rafael Nadal is a renowned tennis player who was awarded the first racket title according to the Association of Tennis Professionals rankings because of his incredible achievements among which was the Grand Slam victory.
In sports circles, Rafael is nicknamed “The King of Clay” for his excellence on the red clay court surface, though the iconic player can perform on courts with various surface types.
Young Rafael grew up in an ordinary family. It was his uncle Tony who cultivated his love for tennis. Working as a tennis coach, Toni often took his nephew to the court. However, the boy was also fond of football, he frequently visited Spanish stadiums.
His girlfriend is Maria Francisca Perello (Xisca Perelló) since 2005. Rafael is also an amateur golfer and a Real Madrid fan. Earlier, he preferred his signature sleeveless sports shirts but now he uses ordinary T-shirts. In one season, the player changed several sneakers, however, the right sneaker always had a “Rafa” inscription.
The celebrity is proud of his native Manacor. At 14, the Real Federación Española de Tenis (RFET) offered the young prodigy to move to Barcelonian tennis courts, but Raphael, after consulting with his uncle, decided to stay in his hometown.
Professional Career of Nadal
Being a 15-year-old teenager Nadal performed on the professional level and a year later he played at the youth Wimbledon. Among the famous Spaniard’s trophies are victories in the Davis Cup, Australian Open, Wimbledon Tournament, US Open, and several other awards.
Rafa defeated the following tennis pros:
- Roger Federer (13 victories)
- Novak Djokovic (6 winnings)
- Albert Costa
- Carlos Moyá Llompart
- Julien Henry Guy Benneteau-Desgrois
- Mikhail Youzhny
- Bobby Reynolds
- Juan Martín del Potro
- Andrew Stephen Roddick
- Mischa Zverev (in 2019)
…among hundreds more.
Rafael Nadal and Steroids Use: Peoples’ Accusations
Rafael Nadal is a top-ranked tennis player. Naturally, many other players envy him. Therefore, many players have repeatedly accused Nadal of using illegal medicines. Moreover, not only tennis players did it. Also, Raphael was slandered by various media outlets and even government officials. In addition, he looked juiced in some video clips and photos.
In 2013, Rafael didn’t appear on the court for about seven months because of injury. His triumphant return stunned tennis experts, coaches, commentators, and players by unthinkable results: 10 victories in 13 matches. This vibrant performance caused speculations on Nadal’s involvement in prohibited drug taking.
That’s what different people said about the athlete’s use of anabolic steroids and other prohibited medicines:
- In early 2013, Christophe Rochus (Belgium) suggested that Nadal’s break in performances is not a consequence of health problems, but an unofficial disqualification for the use of illegal drugs. Rafa Nadal’s uncle, Toni Nadal, retorted by calling Rochus an imbecile, rude, and an idiot.
- Daniel Köllerer, a tennis player, stated that such breathtaking results could only be achieved with the help of stimulants. The revelation would have bad consequences for tennis (source: wearetennis).
- Robin Haase pointed out that more thorough tests should have been carried out. According to him, Tennis should be approached more meaningfully.
- Michael Emmett found similarity between rumors circulating about Nadal and those relating to Lance Armstrong. The commentator added that he witnessed Rafael’s being injected performance improvers before the Monte Carlo competition.
- In the spring of 2016, former minister of Sports of France (Ministre de la Santé et des Sports) Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin positioned a break in Rafael Nadal’s performances as a hidden ban due to violating the Anti-Doping code.
New Facts About Nadal & Steroids
In 2016, Rafael Nadal’s name appeared in a list of athletes who had received permission from WADA to use prohibited substances for therapeutic purposes. This list was published by Russian cyber espionage group Fancy Bear (also known as APT28, Pawn Storm, Sofacy Group, and STRONTIUM).
This list contained names of 26 athletes from 10 countries. Rafa was the only Spaniard there. The documents posted on the group’s website indicated that Nadal took steroids intramuscularly in 2009 and 2012. In 2009, he was allowed to take betamethasone, and in 2012, he legally used corticotropin.
On September 23, 2009, Dr. Stuart Miller of the International Tennis Federation authorized the use of a single dose of betamethasone for Raphael, and on June 30, 2012, Nadal was prescribed several doses of a corticosteroid (tetracosactide, which is marketed as Nuvacthen Depot, Synachten, Cortrosyn, Nuvacthen, Synacthène, and Cortrosyn Z) by the same doctor.
In addition to Nadal, this list contained the names of the following athletes: a four-time Olympic runner from the UK, Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah, and a Hungarian swimmer, six-time Olympic prize-winner, László Cseh.
Possible Steroid Cycle of Rafa Nadal
We do not exactly know what types of steroids Nadal probably used to enhance his physique and athletic performance. We can assume the following possible steroid cycle of the tennis player (it is our evaluation opinion and shouldn’t be considered a real fact):
- Oral steroids: perhaps Raphael used oral steroids. Oral steroids, in general, have a shorter half-life than many injectable steroids. Therefore, there’s more difficulty in detecting them than steroid injections.
- HGH drugs: maybe the famous tennis player used growth hormone for more rapid recovery after injuries. Some people found a photo of a young Nadal where he was incredibly muscular. If you compare these photos with the modern physical shape of the athlete, you will see a big difference. This may indicate that Rafael used to take illegal hormonal medications.
Besides, Raphael Nadal used stem cell treatment (like Bartolo Colon) that possibly gave him the opportunity to use some medicines as a therapeutic exemption.